Stealth advances to Pro Cup Finals
Despite poor foul shooting down the stretch, the Houston Stealth defeated the Chicago Blaze 71-67 in a thrilling semi-final game to advance to the 2003 Pro Cup Championship. Houston will attempt to successfully defend its 2002 title in the championship game versus the Tennessee Fury Sunday afternoon.
Thanks to a 12 to 2 run to finish the half, Houston led 32-28 at halftime. Houstons Tina Thompson scored 10 points in the first half while teammate Sheryl Swoopes added 9. Chicagos LaTonya Johnson scored 14 in the opening stanza for the Blaze.
Thompson was unstoppable in the second half as she poured in 21 points to lead the Stealth. However, Johnson began the second half with 8 straight points to keep Chicago close.
Houston led 58-50 with 5:28 left in the game when Chicagos Dominique Canty began to take over. Canty scored 9 straight points to cut Houstons lead to 61 to 59 with 3 minutes left. Sheryl Swoopes missed 4 straight foul shots as the Blaze refused to go away.
Stealth point guard Tamicha Jackson hit an 18-foot jump shot to boosts Houstons lead to four, 63-59. Chicagos Johnson connected on two foul shots to make the score 63-61. After a Houston miss, Chicagos Camille Cooper tied the game at 63 with a turnaround shot.
Swoopes hit a jumper to give Houston a 65-63 lead with 49.5 seconds left.
The Stealth forced a five-second violation on Chicago to regain possession. Swoopes made 2 free throws to give the Stealth a four-point lead.
Canty made a lay-up, 67-65 Stealth.
Tamicha Jackson missed 2 free throws; but, she rebounded the ball; Swoopes was fouled; but, she only made 1 of her 2 foul shots. Houston led 68-65 when Canty made a lay-up and drew a foul; however, she missed the free throw; but, Camille Cooper rebounded the second shot and she was fouled.
Cooper went to the line with the Blaze trailing 68-67; and, she missed both free throws. Houstons Tina Thompson rebounded the second missed free throw; she was fouled; but, she only made 1 of 2 which gave Houston a 69-67 lead with 11.8 seconds left.
Canty missed the game-tying lay-up; then, Cooper, missed the put back; and Swoopes grabbed the rebound with 0.8 seconds left in the game. She made both free throws to give the Stealth a four-point win, 71-67.
The Blaze finished the game with a 43 to 26 edge in rebounding; however, Chicago only shot 44.4% (12 for 26) from the free throw line.
Tina Thompson led all scorers with 31 points while LaTonya Johnson led Chicago with 27 points.
Houston will face the Tennessee Fury in the championship game at 3pm (CDT) tomorrow afternoon. Tennessee upset number 1 seed Springfield 80-67 in the second semi-final game.
Houston and Tennessee split four regular season games this season.
Sundays game will be webcast by Sports Radio Network (www.sportsradionet.com).
The Stealths roster consists of four Houston Comets players: forward Tina Thompson, forward Sheryl Swoopes, guard / forward Kelley Gibson, and center Michelle Snow. John Chancellor coaches the Stealth.
The NWBL is a professional womens basketball league with franchises in Springfield, MA; Knoxville, TN; Chicago, IL; Birmingham, AL; Houston, TX and Grand Rapids, MI.
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National Women's Basketball League Stories from April 13, 2003
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